Calcutta Notebook


The roots of export of terror from Pakistan lie in the Grand Feudal Alliance that the leaders of that country have cobbled up. Nehru had implemented land reforms in India. That broke the backbone of rural feudal lords. He also put private businesses on the leash by declaring that commanding heights of the economy will be held by the public sector. Indira Gandhi carried that movement forward by the nationalization of banks and the coal industry. That broke the stranglehold of the capitalists on the country. Such was not done in Pakistan. Feudal landlords ruled the countryside and trade and industry were controlled by a small coterie of business houses. The political parties pandered to these ruling families. They needed an issue that would divert the attention of the people from the inequities perpetrated by this Alliance. The issue of Kashmir came in handy for this purpose. The people, instead of opposing the Alliance for its anti-people policies, turned around and supported the Alliance for its stand on Kashmir. The Pakistan army extended support to this Feudal Alliance. They found they could get large amounts of arms and money as long as the Kashmir issue was kept burning. The ruling parties and the army propped up jihadi groups to push the Kashmir issue on the center stage. Kashmir and jehadis, therefore, are integral part of the strategy to divert the people’s attention from the economic inequality that is pervasive in Pakistan.

The emergence of Al Qaeda and Taliban enabled America to join this Alliance as its fourth member. America had its own agenda against Taliban in Afghanistan and a resurgent India, whom America has never trusted. In order to make the Government of Pakistan take up the war against Taliban and in order to create a counterweight to resurgent India, it was necessary for the Americans to support this Feudal Alliance. In return for support from America, the Alliance agreed to move against the Taliban, at least on the surface, and keep up pressure against India. Thus America turned the Pakistani Government against its own people. This is the root of the all pervasive anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. The Americans furthermore pushed the Pakistani governments to open up the Pakistan economy for American companies. Thus, one more member was co-opted in the Grand Alliance – the American Multinational. The people of Pakistan are not happy with the Americans. They are more inclined to make friendship with China. Thus, the ruling Alliance walks on a tightrope between America and China. They seek financial and military support from both America and China  to keep the other at bay.

Generally speaking, economic reforms mean that businesses will compete with each other and bring prices down. Not so in Pakistan. Here economic reforms mean that a cartel of MNCs and local businessmen would be free to charge exorbitant prices and fleece the people. In the result Pakistani society got split into two mutually hostile parts. The naked and jobless common man stood on one side. On the other side stood a grand alliance of Feudal Landlords, Business Houses, Multinational Corporations, and the Pakistan Army with the American Government standing ready in attendance to help if and when required. Pakistan Government and Army have roped in the jehadis to bolster their bargaining power against the Americans, and, at the same time, deflecting the attention of the common man from the poverty and other problems. Their purpose is secured by ‘optimal’ terror — big enough to be invoked as a trump card before the Americans and small enough that it does not push India to take a definitive action.

The perception of China as a friend among the Pakistani people causes a schism between them and India. In their view, India is their enemy since India is a friend of their enemy America. Again, in their view, India is their enemy since India is an enemy of their friend China. The anti-India sentiment in Pakistan is being fuelled by the support of the Alliance to the jehadis. It is being strengthened by the perception of India being a friend of America and enemy of China.

Government of India wants to put pressure upon the Pakistan Government to take action against the jehadis. This policy will not deliver. The jehadis have a vital role in the survival of the Alliance. They deflect the attention of the people from the anti-people doings of the Alliance.The anti-people  agenda being followed by  the Alliance will get exposed if the jehadis go low. Indian authorities are asking the Alliance to dig its own grave by putting a leash on the jehadis.

New Delhi is wasting its energies in trying to turn the Alliance against the jehadis. Instead of trying to create a schism between the Alliance and the jehadis; it is better to try to create a schism between the people on the one side and the Alliance and the jehadis on the other. The solution will come from weakening the Alliance itself just as India did with Sheikh Mujib in Bangladesh.

India should provide big financial support to International Donors and route the funds to people’s civil liberties organizations of Pakistan to raise the issue of economic inequality against the ruling Alliance and foster internal dissention. Global donors regularly give funds to foster internal dissention against governments that do not toe their line.

Second, India must maximize its pro-American anti-China stance. Here one can take a lesson from China. That country has often taken an anti-American stance, such as in respect of North Korea, yet obtained advanced commercial technologies from American Multinationals. It has also developed advance military hardware despite lack of cooperation from America. India must do the same. India must extend its hand of friendship to China.

Indians have to make a hard choice whether they want to lose the support of Pakistani people by being seen as supporters of their enemy America and enemy of their friend China; or they will befriend the Pakistani people by distancing themselves from America and embracing friendship with China.

Vol. 49, No.44, May 7 - 13, 2017